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 • Chinese 山口洋
 • Jawi سيڠکاوڠ
Official seal of Singkawang
Motto: Bersatu Untuk Maju, Singkawang Berkualitas
Singkawang is located in Indonesia
Location of Singkawang in Indonesia
Country Indonesia
Province West Kalimantan
City/Town Singkawang
Established 12 December 1981 (as administrative city)
21 June 2001
 • Mayor Hasan Karman, S.H., M.M.
 • Total 504.0 km2 (194.6 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 192,844
 • Density 380/km2 (990/sq mi)
 • Demonym Singkawangite, 山口洋人 (Shānkǒuyáng rén / Shan khew jong nyin)
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)

Singkawang or San Keuw Jong (Chinese: 山口洋; pinyin: Shānkǒuyáng) is a city located in the province of West Kalimantan (or Kalimantan Barat), on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. It is located at about 145 km north of Pontianak, the provincial capital, and is surrounded by the Pasi, Poteng, and Sakok mountains. Singkawang is derived from Hakka Chinese, San khew jong which refers to "a town in hills nearby a sea and estuary."


  • Population 1
  • Administrative districts 2
  • History 3
  • City of Thousand Temples 4
  • Food 5
  • Chinatown 6
  • Languages 7
  • Festivals 8
  • Around Singkawang 9
  • Mail Order Bride Center 10
  • Sister cities 11
  • Notable people 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Jami Mosque, Singkawang.

According to the data from the 2014 Census, the population of Singkawang was 192,844, most of which are Chinese descents. The largest group of Chinese descent is Hakka people (locally called as "Hakka-nyin" who speak Guangdong-Hakka dialect) – about 42% of the population. The other major group of Chinese descent is Chaozhou People which is better known as Teochew. The rest are Melayu, Dayak, Javanese, and other ethnicities. The latest official estimate (as at January 2014) is 192,844.

The distribution of the religion practically follows the distribution of the ethnic groups; the largest groups are Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism.

Administrative districts

The city is divided into five administrative districts (kecamatan), listed below with their populations at the 2010 Census:[1]

  • Singkawang Selatan (South Singkawang) 41,432
  • Singkawang Timur (East Singkawang) 19,263
  • Singkawang Utara (North Singkawang) 21,977
  • Singkawang Barat (West Singkawang) 46,890
  • Singkawang Tengah (Central Singkawang) 56,900


Group portrait of the Sisters of Charity at the Roman Catholic mission in Singkawang.

From the middle of the 18th century the Chinese governed trading in the city. During the Dutch East Indies era Singkawang was a Roman Catholic main station and permanent residence of Roman Catholic clergy. The mission there was called the 'Apostolic Vicariate of Dutch Borneo' and founded among others schools, a hospital and a leprosy colony.

City of Thousand Temples

One of the main temples in Singkawang.

Singkawang is also well known as the City of a Thousand Temples since there are so many temples can be found in the city and its surrounding. Nearly every god and goddess in Chinese Mythology are worshipped here. People also worship popular historical figures like General Guan Gong, Admiral Zheng He, or even Emperor Sung Tai-zu, which was found to be worshipped in the temple outside the north side of the city.


Chinese food especially Hakka style dominates the food stalls or small restaurants, but Teo Chew style is also available. Minang style food can also be found here. Unique food like "Rujak Ju Hie" (鱿鱼炒;rojak with dried squid) is one of delicacies in Singkawang. Tofu (bean curd) Singkawang is famous in West Kalimantan, also "Kembang Tahu" (腐皮;silky smooth tofu with sugar gravy) is very popular in this city. Singkawang is also famous for its cakes. The variety of cakes is surprising and available from early morning till midnight. Kopi Tiam (咖啡店;local coffee shop) with strong bitter robusta coffee can be found every where. Peaceful and safe feeling for everyone makes Singkawang to be one of the cities with lively night. One may enjoy various food in Pasar Hongkong from porridge, kwetiau, fried rice, nasi lemak, rujak (fruit & vegetables salad), cakes coffee stall. And the prices of the food are surprisingly cheap. Local people enjoy the night with their friends discussing the local hottest issues, singing, or playing cards.


Beside it is well known as the City of Thousands Temples, as there are many small and large temple from any corner of Singkawang region, Singkawang is also known as one of the Indonesian Chinatowns since the majority of the population is of Chinese descent, consisting of mostly Hakka and some other sub-group of Han Chinese. They still practice their culture in any ceremony or official events, from weddings to funeral ceremonies. The culture is seen as the closest to the original tradition of Chinese people (mostly refers to Fujian), making Singkawang known as the Indonesian Chinatown.


Singkawang people use Indonesian as the primary language not only in conversation or trading, but they also use their own mother tongue. As Singkawang consists of three major ethnic groups, Chinese, Malays and Dayak, Hakka people, almost all of the Singkawang people use either Indonesian or Hakka Chinese for conversation; even some members of other ethnic groups use it, too. The Indonesian used in Singkawang commonly for daily conversation is not standard Indonesian, but has some Malay influence on vocabulary as Malay is the closest language to Indonesian and the Singkawang people have for years been accustomed to Malay.


Tri Dharma Bumi Raya temple of Singkawang, front gate night view
  • Cap Go Meh (正月半 jang ngiet ban in Hakka) is celebrated on the 15th and last day of Chinese New Year;
  • Qingming Festival or locally known as Cheng Beng, celebrated on 4-5 April in in a given year;
  • May: Gawai Dayak Naik Dango is celebrated by the Dayak in the opening of the rice harvest to thank the Gods;
  • June 1: Ngabayotn is celebrated by the Dayak people to celebrate the closing form of rice harvest and beginning of the cultivation season;
  • August: Wayang Gantung;
  • August 15: Karnaval Augustus celebrates Indonesian Independence day;
  • October: Singkawang 10 km running contest is held on Singkawang's anniversary;
  • October: Dragon Cup soccer championship gathers the clubs from the surrounding districts to celebrate Singkawang's anniversary;
  • October: Pawai Takbir;
  • Festival Bedug on Idul Adha day;
  • Karnaval Muharram celebrates Islamic new year

Around Singkawang

One of the main roads in Singkawang, Jalan P. Diponegoro

Places of interest around the city are:

  • Villa Bukit Mas, a resort;
  • Bukit Bougenville, a botanical garden about 6 km south of Singkawang;
  • Chidayu Indah, is a similar garden to that of Bougenville, and lies right next to it;
  • Pasir Panjang beach resort about 17 km south of Singkawang;
  • Sungai Hangmoy, a river used for bathing mainly by the Hakka population;
  • Kawasan Wisata, a white sanded beach 8 km south of Singkawang;
  • Teratai Indah, an artificial lake used for recreation by the locals; lies only 2 km south of Singkawang;
  • Vihara Chikung, the largest Taoist temple in the area, funded by Singaporeans, located 3 km south of the city;
  • Gunung Roban, a mount with a tiled path up the mountain used by the locals for easy hiking; located 4 km to the east.
  • Batu Belimbing, or Starfruit Rock, a rock that resembles a starfruit. lies 8 km east of the city;
  • Gunung Poteng is one of the main water resources for the city, and lies 7 km east. The mountain is a Natural Reserve where unique flora such as the Rafflesia Tuan Mudae grows;
  • Sinka Island Park location at south of Singkawang in Teluk Karang has access to small Simping Island, recreational park, swimming pool and mini zoo around a hill.[2]

Mail Order Bride Center

There have been unsubstantiated allegations of human trafficking in Singkawang, based upon the town's thriving mail order bride business.[3] Most of the men who travel to Singkawang looking for young women to marry are from Taiwan, China, Malaysia, or Singapore. These men arrive and get in touch with brokers, these brokers then approach families with suitably aged daughters and generally offers these parents about five million rupiahs (about US$500) for each girl.

It is most normal for a majority of these foreign clients to pay an amount exceedingly more than what is requested by the brokers and most payments are at an average of 30 million rupiahs (about US$3,000). Contracts are often drawn between the brokers and the clients. It is a fact that each contract includes a time period clause and most of these marriages are contractually bound for two to five years, some for even shorter periods of time. It is also common for these relationships to not be legally bound marriages.

Sister cities

Notable people

  • Morgan Oey, singer


  1. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  2. ^ "Jika ke Singkawang, Ayo Mampir ke Sinka Island Park". February 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation, Elizabeth Pisani, p. 286

External links

  • (Indonesian) Official Singkawang Website
  • (Indonesian) UnOfficial Singkawang Website
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